Kicking off June’s 44th Anniversary of Black Music Month, Grand Songbook Media held the first screening of its Historic Documentary “The Musicians’ Green Book: An Enduring Legacy” at UCLA
The first screening of The Musicians’ Green Book: An Enduring Legacy at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music’s Schoenberg Hall was historic in its presentation. It offered an opportunity to finally give the great Jazz musicians and performers who played the ‘Chitlin’ Circuit’ the respect that is long overdue.
A special invited audience of UCLA students, faculty, and alumni was joined by notable Hollywood music industry executives and celebrities to screen The Musicians’ Green Book: An Enduring Legacy on June 1, 2023. The documentary chronicled the achievements and struggles of the artists who performed at a string of venues they affectionately called the Chitlin’ Circuit during the era of racial segregation, mostly in the Deep South. Despite the troubling times, the era produced some of the greatest performers and music that the world has ever known... Continue reading.
“It was a lovely event and I'm thrilled and delighted that these legendary musicians were celebrated so beautifully.”
Founder/Artistic Director Afro Latin Jazz Alliance
Professor, Global Jazz Studies, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Celebrate the vibrant Jazz, R&B and Soul music of African American artists who, during segregation, created the foundation of modern American music. Navigating the injustices of racial segregation was difficult and, at times, dangerous—even for renowned Black artists like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Little Richard or Sam Cooke. Like many other Black Americans, they relied on Victor Hugo Green’s Negro Travelers’ Green Book, a directory of lodgings, restaurants and entertainment venues where African Americans were safe and welcomed. The virtual “underground musicians green book”—a network of friends, family and fans—provided food, lodging and fellowship for Black entertainers on tour.
Green’s book was a guide to a parallel world of vibrant Black neighborhoods like New York City’s Harlem, Chicago’s Bronzeville and Washington, D.C.’s U Street, where Black entrepreneurs created thriving businesses that served and sustained Black patrons and artists. Informally known as the Chitlin’ Circuit, these music venues included glamorous theaters, swinging dance halls and rural juke joints, where icons and rising stars alike honed their craft and won audience acclaim.
The program shines the spotlight on legendary Jazz, R&B and Soul performers who kept The Apollo and Howard Theaters and Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom jumping, and who also toured the Southern one-night circuit on their road to success. It features an exciting mix of classic songs performed by legendary and contemporary stars and candid interviews with performers, celebrities and notable musicians who were a part of the circuit. Music was a uniting force during segregation and remains so to this day. The Musicians’ Green Book will honor the genius of these Black artists, who, during these difficult times, changed America with their songs.
Premiering exclusively in December on PBS.
UCLA Screening Event
On the evening of June 1st, kicking off the 44th Anniversary of Black Music Month, Grand Songbook Media held the first screening of its Historic Documentary Film, The Musicians’ Green Book: An Enduring Legacy at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music's Schoenberg Hall to an invited audience of UCLA students, faculty, and alumni joined by a number of Hollywood industry executives and celebrities. The screening was followed by a Q&A hosted by Grand Songbook Media CEO Ed Vodicka and Arturo O’Farrill with film Headliner & Jazz Vocalist Josephine Beavers. They were accompanied by cast members Harold Jones, Benjamin Wright, Charles Owens, H.B. Barnum and Nolan Shaheed among others.
The Musicians’ Green Book: An Enduring Legacy Documentary shares the remembrances and candid interviews, from Black Musicians, about those segregated days while traveling the dangerous Southern states touring the one-night circuit to entertain and give hope to their fans, friends, and families.
Photo Credits: George W. DeLoache and Vlasta Kucerova